Three die in youth camp plane crash in southeast Switzerland

The plane crashed on Friday morning below the Diavolezza chairlift in canton Graubünden at an altitude of 2,800 metres (9,186 feet) Kantonspolizei Graubünden

The pilot and two 14-year-old passengers of a small light aircraft died on Friday when their plane crashed in the Diavolezza mountain region, near Pontresina in canton Graubünden. A 17-year-old passenger was also seriously injured. The cause of the accident is unclear. 

This content was published on August 4, 2017 and agencies/sb

The Graubünden policeExternal link told reporters that the Rega rescue service found the destroyed Piper PA28 four-seater plane on Friday morning below the Diavolezza chairlift at an altitude of 2,800 metres (9,186 feet). They discovered the dead pilot and two 14-year-olds inside the aircraft. A 17-year-old passenger who had been seriously injured was flown to a nearby hospital. All four were Swiss nationals.

“The flight took place during the Pro Aero Youth Camp,” police spokesman Roman Rüegg confirmed. It was its second sortie of the day. The crash occurred ten minutes into the 25-minute initiation flight, which started at 9.10am from Samedan air field. 

Rüegg said the police could not confirm the cause of the accident at this stage. 

Christian Gartmann, from the High Engadine flying club, said the pilot was free to choose his own route according to the weather, wind, air traffic and other factors.

External Content

The plane was being used in a flight initiation session organised by Aero-Club Switzerland, its spokesman confirmed. In all, 192 teenagers aged 14-16 were attending the youth camp, which is due to end on Saturday. Over the past 35 years, 5,000 youngsters have attended the annual camp and there have never been any serious accidents.

“My whole world has collapsed,” said Yves Burkhardt from Aeroclub Switzerland. “The young people spent a wonderful holiday week and one of the highlights was supposed to be this flight.” 

Piper PA28 four-seater plane similar to the aircraft that crashed in the Diavolezza mountain region Keystone

Burkhardt said the pilot was a local man who was an experienced flyer. 

The police do not wish to give any further information concerning the victims now. A special trauma team has been sent to look after the other children who were taking part in the camp. A religious service will also be held.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Weekly top stories

Keep up to date with the best stories from SWI on a range of topics, straight into your mailbox.


The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.